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Fallston improvises to beat No. 6 Key, 1-0


Gwen Bierbower described it as a broken play. Stephanie Yancone said it worked according to its design.

Confusion aside, Bierbower's goal off a corner early in the second half was the difference as the ninth-ranked Fallston field hockey team squeaked past No. 6 Francis Scott Key, 1-0, in Fallston yesterday.

Bierbower's game-winning score occurred with just 3:40 elapsed in the second period. Off a corner, Cougars senior midfielder Alexis Miller sent the ball to Bierbower and junior attacker Mandy Novak, whose responsibilities were to settle the ball for Yancone, a senior midfielder.

"It's never really set in stone who shoots," Yancone said. "I saw the flyer coming out and knew that Gwen has a great shot."

Yancone passed the ball to Bierbower, and the senior attacker wasted little time burying the ball past Eagles junior goalkeeper Tessa Gist (three saves).

"I was just one of the stoppers," Bierbower said of her goal. "I shot it, and it went in slow motion. It felt like it took 10 minutes to go in."

Fallston and Francis Scott Key have played each other for the past eight years, and only one of those meetings has been decided by more than one goal.

"It's nice to play a good out-of-county team," Cougars coach Alice Puckett said. "When they beat Westminster [on Tuesday], I was really nervous."

Yesterday's play again exemplified the rivalry between the teams, as goalies for both sides didn't have to make a single save in the first half.

But after Bierbower scored, the Eagles offense woke up, gaining a 6-3 advantage in corners and pressing Fallston with the hope of tying the score.

Senior midfielder Sarah Guynn had two of Francis Scott Key's best chances, but one shot went wide left. And none of her teammates could follow up a rebound on her second shot.

The Cougars defense, anchored by junior goalkeeper Heather Winkler (four saves), did the rest, turning away every other opportunity.

For Fallston (3-1), the victory avenged a 2-0 loss to the Eagles last season and paved over memories of a 1-0 loss to River Hill on Friday.

On the other side, the loss broke a three-game winning streak for Francis Scott Key (3-2), and marked its first loss to a ranked opponent this season.

"It was a good effort for us," said Eagles coach Alison Weiss. "We just couldn't capitalize on our chances."

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